O'REILLY, Kaite credit Hayley Madden.JPG

Kaite O'Reilly

Agent:  Conrad Williams

Biography: Kaite is a multi-award winning playwright and radio dramatist. 

She has won many awards for her work, including the Peggy Ramsay Award, Manchester Theatre Awards best play of the year, Theatre-Wales Award and the Ted Hughes Award for new works in Poetry for 'Persians' for National Theatre Wales. Widely published and produced, she works internationally.

2016/17 productions including ‘Cosy’ at Wales Millennium Centre (The Llanarth Group), ‘The Almond and the Seahorse’ in Estonia and Germany, and the Taiwanese production of ‘the 9 Fridas’ in Mandarin transferring to Hong Kong Repertory Theatre.

In 2018 she co-created ‘richard iii redux’ - a one woman show from a politicised disability perspective deconstructing the ‘othering’ of Richard III for a disabled actress, premiering on International Women's Day, plus ‘And Suddenly I Disappear: The Singapore/UK ‘d’ Monologues', a dialogue about difference, diversity and disability from opposite sides of the world. It premiered in Singapore in May 2018 and will transfer to Southbank Centre, London, 5/9/18, then have a short tour, concluding at Chapter Arts Centre, 11-12 September 2018.

Her plays are collected in the critically acclaimed ‘Atypical Plays for Atypical Actors’, published by Oberon, with the forthcoming ‘The ‘d’ Monologues’ about disability, difference and diversity published to coincide with the UK Autumn tour.

She has written extensively for radio, and she wrote and directed ‘Mouth’, a Screen Gem, back in 2000. Her first screenplay The Almond and the Seahorse, co-written with Celyn Jones, is in development with Mad As Birds Films.

A veteran of the disabled peoples’ movement, she received two Cultural Olympiad Commissions for ‘In Water I’m Weightless', part of the official Olympiad Festival during the 2012 London Paralympics/Olympics. A leading figure in the UK’s disability arts and culture, she is patron of Disability Arts Cymru and DaDaFest.



  • 2013: Nominated for the inaugural James Tait Black Memorial Prize (drama) for IN WATER I’M WEIGHTLESS

  • 2011: Winner of The Ted Hughes Award for New Works in Poetry, for PERSIANS, a reworking of Aeschylus's classic. Awarded by the Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy and The Poetry Society

  • 2009: Finalist in international Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for THE ALMOD AND THE SEAHORSE

  • 2004: Best New Play for PERFECT, Manchester Evening News Theatre Awards.

  • 2003: Best New Writing Award for PEELING, Theatre Wales Awards

  • 1998: Peggy Ramsay Award for most innovative play of the year for YARD

  • 1997: Image Magazine Irish Short Story Writers of the Year Awards

  • 1996: Stand International Short Story Competition - runner-up with MOUTH

  • 1994: Mind/Allen Award - contributor to MUSTN'T GRUMBLE, a prize-winning collection of short stories, published by The Women's Press


  • AND SUDDENLY I DISAPPEAR, UK tour September 2018
    ‘an impassioned, provocative and constantly stimulating production… demands that difference be celebrated and valued and not merely tolerated’ Wales Arts Review

  • LIE WITH ME (2017, a modern adaptation of La Ronde for the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art)

  • WOMAN OF FLOWERS (2014. A commission from Forest Forge. Drawn from the Mabinogion. World premiere and UK tour)

    “Kaite O' Reilly's script sparkles with her trademark wit and use of evocative language which feels, although heightened, completely naturalistic… I was left quite exhausted but elated after 80 minutes of emotional ups and downs but with a renewed sense of value for my independence and freedom.”
    Disability Arts Online

    “Captivating… Kaite O’Reilly’s play… takes elements of ancient Welsh myth and splices them with something more contemporary and sinister…”
    The Stage

    Lyn Gardner's Pick of the Week - The Guardian

  • THE 9 FRIDAS (2014. A commission from Sherman Cymru. World premiere in Mandarin at the Taipei Festival directed by Phillip Zarrilli)

  • IN WATER I'M WEIGHTLESS (2012. To be produced by National Theatre Wales in July 2012, directed by John McGrath, part of the Cultural Olympiad to celebrate the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics. Premiering July 23rd at Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff, and transferring to London's South Bank Centre as part of the official Olympic and Paralympic festival)

  • LEANER FASTER STRONGER (A commission from Chol Theatre in a co-production with Sheffield Theatres. Directed by Andrew Loretto, as part of the Cultural Olympiad. May 2012. Sheffield Crucible Theatre, then touring in 2013)

  • THE ECHO CHAMBER (The Llanarth Group. A performance text co-created with Ian Morgan, Phillip Zarrilli and Peader Kirk. Premiering at Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff, in January 2012)

  • 2011 TOLD BY THE WIND (The Llanarth Group,The Dance Centre, Chicago, USA)

  • PEELING (A new production by Forest Forge Theatre Company, directed by Kirstie Davies. Regional tour)

  • THE ALMOND SEAHORSE (Staged reading at The Irish Repertory Theatre, New York, USA)

  • PERSIANS (2010. A new version of Aeschylus' PERSIANS for National Theatre Wales. A site-specific production on Ministry of Defence land in Brecon, directed by Mike Pearson. August 2010. Cited as one of the outstanding cultural events of 2010 by The Guardian, Telegraph, and Sunday Times)

  • TOLD BY THE WIND (For The Llanarth Group. Dramaturg and writer in a co-creation with Jo Shapland and Phillip Zarrilli. Premiered at Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff, then toured to TanzFabrik, Berlin; Exeter Phoenix and Grotowski Institute, Wroclaw, Poland)

  • I FALL TO PIECES (One woman show on survivors of the mental health system. Co-directed with Phillip Zarrilli. DaDaFest International Festival)

  • A LIBRARY OF HANDS: THE EVORA BOOKS (Dramaturg/tutor for site-specific performance project in Evora's historic library, with director Phillip Zarrilli. Escrita na Paisagem Performance Festival, Evora, Portugal)

  • THE 'D' MONOLOGUES (2009. Rehearsed readings at National Theatre Studio; Cardiff Disability Pride; Unity Festival, Wales Millennium Centre)

  • THE ALMOND SEAHORSE (2008. Sherman Cymru Theatre Company. Directed by Phillip Zarrilli. Premiere in Cardiff, then national tour)

  • THE ALMOND SEAHORSE (2007. Workshop and rehearsed reading. Directed by Sandy Shinner. Madison Rep' New Play Festival, USA)

  • IN PRAISE OF FALLEN WOMEN (2006. The Fingersmiths Ltd, Drill Hall. London. Writer and director of bilingual performance. English/BSL)

  • SPEAKING STONES (2005. Theatre Asou, Austria. Director Phillip Zarrilli. Grotowski Centre, Poland. English language premiere).

  • SILENT RHYTHM (2004. Liverpool International Live Art Festival commission. Writer and director. Bluecoats/Tate gallery)

  • HENHOUSE (Arcola Theatre London, by Glossalaila Theatre. Director Bill Hopkinson)

  • PERFECT (Contact Theatre Manchester. Director John McGrath)

  • PEELING (2002/3. Graeae Theatre Company. Director Jenny Sealey. Two National and European tours. Chosen for British Council 'Best of British' showcase at Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2003)

  • SPEAKING STONES (2002. Theatre Asou, Austria. Director Phillip Zarrilli. A site-specific performance inside an underground quarry, Aflenz, and Theatre Im Palais, Graz, Austria)

  • BELONGING (2000. Birmingham Repertory Theatre. Director Anthony Clark)

  • SLACHTHAUS (1999. In repertoire for two years. The Maxim Gorki Theatre, Berlin)

  • YARD (2001. Translated by Frank Heibert. Directed by Martin Kloepfer)

  • YARD (1998. The Bush Theatre London. Director Julie-Anne Robinson)

Radio drama:

  • WALKIE TALKIES (2008. Radio monologue for Liverpool Freethinking Festival. Directed by Justine Potter for BBC Radio 3)

  • BORAH BISTRA (2007. International Radio drama commission to commemorate 60th Anniversary of Partition. BBC Radio 3, transmitted 19 August. Directed by Shabina Aslam, diversity director of BBC radio drama)

  • REAN'S GIRLS (2006. Adapted from Foursight Theatre production for BBC Radio 4. Afternoon Play. Director: Kate Chapman)

  • AMBUSHED BY TIME (2005. BBC Radio 4 Friday Night Theatre. Director Roland Jaquerrillo for Fiction Factory)

  • PEELING (2003. BBC Radio 3 Sunday Night Theatre. Director David Hunter)

  • DROUGHT (2003. BBC Radio 4 afternoon play. Director David Hunter)

  • LOVES OUT OF STEP (2001. BBC Radio 3 The Wire. Experimental radio drama. Director David Hunter)

  • THE STORYTELLER (1994. BBC Radio 4 The Afternoon Play. Director Clare Grove)


  • MOUTH (2000. Writer/director of short film - Screen Gems. Channel 4/Sgrin. Screened at various international short film festivals and on general release as a 'B' movie throughout Wales and England 2000-01)

  • STIGMATA (2000/1. BBC2 television - 60 minute film commission. Trained in screenwriting on BBC Screen on Two six month writer's attachment. Shortlisted to final four, but the initiative was axed)

  • BBC Wales Writers' Laboratory (1999. Trained in screenwriting during six month residency at BBC Wales, Llandaff)


  • Honorary Fellow, Drama Department, Exeter University

  • Fellow in International Research Centre Interweaving Performance Cultures, Freie Universitat, Berlin. An on-going residency, 2011-13.

Published plays:

  • MOTHER/DAUGHTER MONOLOGUES VOLUME 1: BABES AND BEGINNINGS (2010. Edited by Emily Cicchini and Dr Gretchen Elizabeth Smith. Contributor. International Centre for Women Playwrights)

  • THE ALMOND AND THE SEAHORSE (2008. Sherman Cymru plays)

  • HENHOUSE (2004. Oberon Contemporary Plays)

  • PEELING (2003. GRAEAE: PLAYS REDEFINING DISABILITY. Edited by Jenny Sealey. Aurora Metro)

  • PEELING (2002. Faber & Faber single play texts)

  • BELONGING (2000. Faber & Faber single play texts)

  • YARD (1998. Bush Theatre play scripts)

Edited collections:

  • FACE ON: DISABILITY ARTS IN IRELAND AND BEYOND (2007. Editor and contributor. Arts Disability Ireland/Create)

  • SHELF LIFE (2002. An anthology of poetry and prose by those with a reduced life expectancy. Editor. National Disability Arts Forum, UK)

Anthologised short stories/prose:

  • LIVING WHERE THE NIGHTS JIVE (2008. Parthian. Editor: Maggie Hampton)

  • 'CF11' CARDIFF CENTRAL (2003. Gomer. Editor: Fran Rhydderch)

  • CATWOMEN FROM HELL (2000. Honno Press)

  • MAMA'S BABY (PAPA'S MAYBE) (1999. Parthian. Editor: Richard Lewis)

  • PHOENIX IRISH SHORT STORIES (1998. Phoenix. Editor: David Marcus)

  • IMAGE MAGAZINE (1997. Short story winner)

  • NEW WRITING 3 (1994. British Council/Minerva. Editor: Andrew Motion)

  • MUSTN'T GRUMBLE (The Women's Press. Editor: Lois Keith)